Disease categorization question

+10 votes
I recently created a profile of a minister who came to Colorado because of ill health and died of tuberculosis.  Since my great-grandmother came to Colorado because she had tuberculosis, this is one of my interests in Colorado history.  So I added the Colorado, Deaths from Tuberculosis category to his profile.  I changed Doc Holliday's category from dying from tuberculosis in the US to Colorado, Deaths from Tuberculosis (he died roughly 30 miles from where I'm typing this).  Today, I came across a person who died from polio, and that category isn't even broken down by country of death, let alone state of death.  In fact, the categories under diseases are extremely inconsistent.  Menopause is listed under causes of death, although no one has been assigned that category (you can die from menopause? Menopause is a disease?) https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Causes_of_Death Causes of Death

With some diseases, the disease itself is an important part of a person's story.  Why did Doc Holliday leave Georgia and go to Tucson, Arizona?  Why did he die in Colorado?  He was in search of a cure from tuberculosis. It does seem to be an important category to include, but the inconsistencies are scaring me away.  Any thoughts?
WikiTree profile: Doc Holliday
in Policy and Style by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (164k points)

1 Answer

+7 votes
It looks like with the menopause category that someone had come across it used on a death certificate as a cause of death.

There were lots of odd ideas in the past about what was the cause of someone's death, and sometimes it was only a contributing factor. (Would someone's death be "run over by a car" or "internal bleeding" or "blood loss"...) Also old terminology abounds. And I would doubt that a lot of contributors are medically trained (I am certainly not!) to know what all of the terms mean - are they cause or effect.

There is likely to be some inconsistency, as a physician at the time of death could have ascribed it to one cause, and yet years later it is proved to be another cause.

The causes of death also would not all be diseases, as many conditions are cumulative and not caused by disease per-se. (debility I have seen as a cause of death, but it would have been the result of something else) And you will see that Lightning is in there too as a cause of death as well as other thing that might cause death, but definitely aren't diseases. And menopause, while under causes of death is not listed under diseases.

Yes there is room for improvement in the categorisation of the health and diseases and causes of death, but there will probably always be some overlap.

For interest I had a look at some lists of old medical terms...and we are missing a lot!

by Lianne Trevarthen G2G6 Mach 4 (40.3k points)

I think 

  • have categories for diseases
  • location is already in the death place field
  • I feel Aleš start add better search support so if you are interested in someone who died in a disease at a location then this I guess soon can be searched using Aleš tool.... 
Yes, location is in the death place field, but the inconsistencies in the way the categories are used are annoying--some include a place name, some don't.  They are named differently as well.  I also think that if you were doing research, it might be interesting to see how many people in an area died from a particular disease.  For example, in my home town for about two decades, the most common cause of death was typhoid because we didn't have a clean, reliable water supply (in spite of living by a river).  In 1918, it was influenza.  Being able to see at a glance where people died from influenza would be significantly interesting in the future.  Mostly, when I looked at those categories, I longed for consistency.

100% agree J.Crock and therefore we should use more advanced things than categories....

Wikipedia started with Categories 10 years ago and 5 years ago they started Wikidata to support having structured information. I will tomorrow go to Berlin and be part of a two day conference WikidataCon_2017 how to further develop Wikidata

Example what can be done:

Those are fascinating, Magnus.

It makes fun and is really an effecient way of doing genealogy....

  • WikiTree people who died when falling of a horse
I've found two people thus far in Colorado who died after they fell off of hay wagons.

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